The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘The Friendly Atheist’

Freedom From Religion Foundation to Air Ad on CBS

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 24, 2012

Given the amazing success of the Reason Rally this weekend in Washington, DC (roughly 20,000 secularists/atheists/non-religious people showing up in the rain is a success to me 🙂 ), it seems more than appropriate that the Freedom From Religion Foundation runs an ad which will receive a nationwide airing on CBS on Sunday and Monday.  The ad opens with President John F. Kennedy’s famous remarks about an absolute separation between church and state.  Here’s the ad:

Wonderfully done, and well-timed.  This is an especially important time for those of us in the non-believing community to step up and be counted, given the preponderance of religiously-oriented stupidity on display in election-year politics these days.  If we hope to uphold church-state separation and fight back against those who would turn our secular republic into a theocracy, we need to get vocal and get active!

Hat tip to The Friendly Atheist for bringing this to my attention! 🙂

Advertisements

Posted in politics, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We Shouldn’t Be Unreasonable About the Reason Rally

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 19, 2012

**Update (3-20-12): In the spirit of promoting unity, as opposed to divisiveness, among our community in regards to the Reason Rally, its organization and promotion, etc. I would like to give my friend Phil at Skeptic Money a shout out.  That’s because Phil has really put his money where his mouth is, because his company – Polaris Financial – is the first corporate sponsor of the Reason Rally!  I think we could take a lesson from Phil on a few things…

*************

So I just read a fantastic post by my skeptical colleague Hemant Mehta over at The Friendly Atheist about the upcoming Reason Rally in Washington, DC this coming weekend (Saturday, March 24th).  Hemant is one of the organizers of the Reason Rally, and he and a lot of other people have basically been working themselves like crazy to get this thing together.  Indeed, it promises to be a historic event: the largest gathering of secular/atheist/non-religious/skeptical folk ever in our nation’s capitol.  Check out the Reason Rally’s website if you haven’t yet…

This brings me to Hemant’s post.  It seems there is a LOT of complaining going on in our community about some of the speakers at the Rally.  Here are some points from Hemant’s post…

So there’s a week to go before the Reason Rally and the complaining is already in full stride. As if all the organizers and volunteers don’t give a damn about reason and are just letting anyone with a pulse onstage…

… Look, the organizers spent a long time listening to the suggestions of dozens of people (representing tens of thousands of atheists) regarding who should speak at the Rally. They did everything in their power to contact all the “big names” that people said they wanted to hear at the Rally. They rustled up and managed the hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding needed to put on an event of this magnitude. They got every major organization in our movement to work together to make this work — and that’s not an easy thing to do. They had to deal with the speakers complaining about their prominence on our website (yep, it happened).

Just about everyone believes in something irrational. Including atheists. So, yes, you’re going to hear people at the Rally who hold ideas we think are completely unreasonable. Maybe even harmful.

If we got rid of every speaker who held an irrational belief, there would be no one left on that stage.

… You can argue that the Rally needs higher “standards,” but you’re missing the point. This isn’t just about us. This isn’t just about spreading science and atheism. This is about drawing attention to our movement. This is about getting media attention. This is about getting all those people not attending the rally (or who don’t even know there are so many other atheists out there) to notice us and maybe — just maybe — get the courage to come out of the closet or attend a local atheist gathering. … [emphasis added]

There are many more good points that Hemant made in his post, and I generally applaud him for sticking to his guns.  I, for one, think that he and the other organizers have done a damn fine job of putting this whole thing together (despite the fact that I have my own criticisms, which I shall keep to myself, thank you.)  And I say that not just as an onlooker, but also as someone who, like Hemant, helped to organize a major conference (though nothing on this scale!) in Chicago back in 2004.  As such, I can appreciate the headache that Hemant and his colleagues are dealing with now. It was enough of a pain that I don’t think I ever want to do it again, so bully for the Reason Rally organizers!

All that said, folks, I think all of this complaining and infighting is in many ways a good problem for our movement to have. It shows that our skeptical/atheist/reason-based/anti-woo/whatever movement has grown so large that it is getting to the point of divisions showing.  That’s called growing pains, folks; and note the important word in that description: growing 🙂

Posted in religion, skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Have Fun PWNing Anti-Vax Nut Wakefield: Add Your Own Caption!

Posted by mattusmaximus on May 28, 2010

As if the whole debacle of anti-vaccination guru Andrew Wakefield’s pathetic attendance at his rally (only about 100 people showed up – some “rally”) wasn’t hilarious enough, the following photo was acquired from the Age of Autism website…

It seems that the Countering Age of Autism blog has a “fill in the caption” contest underway to see who can come up with the most snarky caption making fun of Wakefield.  Have at it! 🙂

Posted in humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Skeptical PWNage of Darth Wakefield & His Anti-Vax Woosters Continues

Posted by mattusmaximus on May 28, 2010

I just want to provide a quick follow up to yesterday’s post about how the Women Thinking Free Foundation’s (WTFF) crew from the nascent Hug Me! campaign skeptically ninjaed the anti-vaccination rally hosting uber-douchebag Andrew Wakefield. It seems that since I blogged about it, the story has exploded all over the skeptical blogosphere, with the famous photo of Wakefield getting skeptically pwned making many appearances 🙂

The two skeptical ninjas shown here on either side of Andrew “Douchebag” Wakefield are Jamie Bernstein and Bruce Critelli.  In the words of another of my skeptical colleagues, these two “are the mayors of Balls City!”  Indeed 😀

Jamie recounts her experience of the rally over at The Friendly Atheist – feel free to follow Jamie via Twitter .@UAJamie

and

Bruce shares some really interesting video he shot at the rally

Of Bruce’s video, the most unnerving part was, to me, a story that Wakefield told the “crowd” (less than 100 people is hardly a crowd) with one woman who was talking about her son…

About 15 years ago a mother from London approached him and said “Do not judge me too harshly Dr. Wakefield, but when I die I am taking my son with me. You see, I’m all he has. I’m the only one who loves him.”

“I didn’t judge,” said Wakefield. “I was moved by the love that a mother must have for her child that she would take his life rather than have him fall upon a society that really didn’t give a damn.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in medical woo, skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Skeptical App on the iPhone/Touch #1: Creationist Claims Index

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 20, 2010

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone who brings up this or that annoying creationist talking point?  How many times have you lamented: “I wish I had something at my fingertips right now to respond to this malarkey!”

Well now you can reference a quick & handy guide on the spot: The Creationist Claims Index – a neat new app for the iPhone or iPod-Touch.  The app is essentially a copy of The Counter-Creationist Handbook by Mark Isaak. The app is easy-to-use, well laid-out, and another big plus is that it’s free!  So what are you waiting for?  Go download it now at the iTunes store…

Hat tip to The Friendly Atheist 🙂

//

//

Posted in creationism, internet | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Attend Skepchicamp! Register Now!

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 19, 2010

Brought to you in part by

And

The very first ever Skepchicamp! It’s Skepticamp, but Skepchickier!

Complete with real live Skepchicks!

Skepchicamp  is an informal convention with the goal of promoting skeptical thinking in the Chicago area.

Unlike formal conventions, everyone who attends Skepchicamp is expected to participate in some way – giving a speech, serving food, helping to set up a room, or donating money.

The goal is to create a laid-back event driven by the participants.

Skeptics believe that everything should be examined with scientific rigor, and generally choose to suspend belief (or agree to append beliefs) based on the availability of adequate evidence. Many skeptics do not believe in the supernatural simply have not seen enough credible evidence to convince us that they exist. They are not curmudgeons who dislike ghost stories. There are, however, there are many things that skeptics do believe in. Like love, the power of beauty, art, friendship, humor, and sports because we know these things to be true. Nothing falsifiable is exempt from scrutiny.

The organizers invite you to attend the first event on March 6, where you can both learn and teach others about skepticism.

“In the end, the Skepchicamp in which you partake

is equal to the Skepchicamp you make.”

If you’d like to attend but still have not made a contribution, please contact Elyse to find out where we still need help.

Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Skepchicamp – The First Chicago SkeptiCamp – on March 6th at the Brehon Pub!

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 3, 2010

I just wanted to share the news with you about the first Chicago area SkeptiCampSkepchicamp – being hosted at the Brehon Pub on Saturday, March 6th – Yeehaw!!!


For those who don’t know, the basic idea behind SkeptiCamps is that they are informal, community-organized conferences borne from the desire for people in the skeptical movement to share and learn in an open environment. Everyone from casual skeptics to the experienced participate, give talks and get to know each other.  Over the last couple of years, successful SkeptiCamps have been hosted in New York City and Denver and there are new ones planned in Atlanta, Ohio, and Vancouver, British Columbia… but our very own Skepchicamp is the first one to be hosted in the Midwest!  Woot!!! 🙂

Please note that if you wish to attend, in keeping with the spirit of SkeptiCamp, you must contribute to the cause in some tangible manner – this doesn’t necessarily mean a monetary donation (though we like loot 😉 ), as some people donate their skills & labor to help the camp go off without a hitch.  If you’re interested in volunteering to help out somehow, please contact the organizers of Skepchicamp. Here are the event details…

Skepchicamp

Saturday, March 6th @ 1pm-10pm

Brehon Pub

731 N. Wells Street

Chicago, IL

The Brehon Pub is an awesome venue for Skepchicamp!  This River North bar is easily accessible by public transit, has a strong wifi signal, and great food and drinks. For one day, the Brehon Pub will be half-Irish, half-Chicago, and all Skepchicamp.  We hope to see you there!  Contact the organizers for more info!

Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Last Call!!! Skepchicamp FUNdraiser!

Posted by mattusmaximus on January 21, 2010

**Note: Though I am helping to organize Skepchicamp, the first Chicago Skepticamp, I totally stole this announcement from Elyse Anders at Skepchick 🙂

Today the Skepchicks have their hats out. All we’re asking for is money, and all we’re promising is booze and Skepchicks and amazing fun and great skeptical topics and great skeptical women/role models and some chances to actually learn some things.

So, on top of our fundraising campaign for SkepchickCon2010 in Minneapolis, we’re also raising funds to Skepchicamp 2010 in Chicago.

This weekend is the first ever FUNdraiser for the first ever Skepchicamp, and time is running out to buy your tickets. We only have about 20 left!

What you get for $30:

  • Food
  • Booze
  • Fun
  • The chance to enter a cashitty cash cash raffle.
  • The chance to bid on a date with the Friendliest (and quite handsome) Atheist, Hemant Mehta
  • The address to the location

Skepchicamp is turning out to be far more popular than we ever imagined it would be… which means we’re going to need money to pull it off. Not only do we need funds for this year’s camp, but to help us form a stronger organization with bigger plans and events in the future. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves, but we need your help. Please?

All you have to do is free up your Saturday night and $30 for a great cause.

So all you have to do is register at our Eventbrite site, or click the kick ass widget on the Skepchicamp blog!

Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Skepchicamp Fundraising Party!!!

Posted by mattusmaximus on December 22, 2009

On March 6, 2010, Chicago will play host to the very first ever Skepchicamp, Chicago’s and Skepchick’s take on the popular Skepticamp.

To make this event happen, and make it happen again, we’re going to need money. And to get that money, we’re going to offer you free* booze and food! The Skepchicamp planning team will be holding a fundraiser on January 23, 2010 at 7:00pm in the South Loop home of Chicago’s own skeptical pediatrician, Dr Jennifer Newport.**

Only 50 tickets available, so get them before they’re hot!

Ticket Price:

$30 until January 16

$40 after January 16 (if available)

Dress:

Black Tie and Pants Optional

SurlyRamics suggested

*Free with purchase of fundraiser ticket
** Dr. Newport’s address will be emailed to the guest list one week prior to the event. Approximate address is mapped.

Event Page: http://skepchicamp2010.eventbrite.com/

Buy your tickets now! 🙂

Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Skepchicamp Venue Set!

Posted by mattusmaximus on December 13, 2009

Chicago’s Galway Arms site of the first Skepchicamp

Skepchicamp, Chicago’s first skepticamp, will be held at the Galway Arms on Saturday, March 6.  Co-sponsored by Surlyramics http://surlyramics.com, Skepchicamp will be held in the upstairs room of the Galway Arms, located at 2442 N. Clark ST.  Skepchicamp will run from 12:30 PM to about 10 PM, and includes a dinner buffet.

Over twenty area speakers will give skeptical presentations on various subjects, including critical thinking, cults, science-based medicine, and diversity within the skeptical movement.  Notable local speakers include Hemant Mehta, creator The Friendly Atheist blog http://friendlyatheist.com, and Elyse Anders, a blogger with Skepchick,  http://skepchick.org.

Skepchicamp will also include a panel discussion with other Skepchick bloggers.  Skepchick founder Rebecca Watson is scheduled to join the discussion over the Internet.

Skepchicamp  is an informal convention with the goal of promoting skeptical thinking in the Chicago area.  The goal is to create a laid-back event, driven by the participants.  Admission is free, but all attendees are required to help to organize Skepchicamp.  Interested volunteers should contact Elyse Anders at elyse@skepchicamp.com for more information.

Skeptics believe that everything should be examined with scientific rigor, and generally choose to suspend belief (or agree to append beliefs) based on the availability of adequate evidence. Many skeptics do not believe in the supernatural simply have not seen enough credible evidence to convince us that they exist. They are not curmudgeons who dislike ghost stories. However, skeptics believe in many things, such as love, the power of beauty, art, friendship, humor, and sports, because we know them to be true. Nothing falsifiable is exempt from scrutiny.

Contact:
William Brinkman
wbrinkman@skepchicamp.com
Phone: 630 663 0194
http://www.skepchicamp.com

Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: